Student reporters and Institute for Education (IFE) interns Alex Burness and Kelsey Valentine interviewed Presidential candidates Senators Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama.
What are you most proud of?
Clinton: My daughter.
McCain: My family’s dedication to service to our nation.
Obama: I am most proud of my two daughters, and of a country that allows them to dream big dreams.
What is your greatest achievement?
Clinton: People ask me, “What’s the best thing you’ve ever done, the hardest thing you’ve ever done?” The answer is the same: It’s being Chelsea’s mom. I still remember Chelsea crying her heart out one night soon after Bill and I brought her home from the hospital. Nothing we could do would quiet her wailing. Finally, as I held her in my arms, I said, “This is new for both of us. I’ve never been a mother before, and you’ve never been a baby. We’re just going to have to help each other do the best we can.” Well, now Chelsea’s all grown up, and I’m most proud of the fact that she is an independent person with a loving heart. She’s a wonderful young woman. I’m very grateful for that.
McCain: Going from the bottom of my class at the naval academy to living a life of service to our country for over 50 years.
Obama: Shortly after I arrived in the Senate, we saw a lot of scandal and corruption engulf Washington. I became the Democratic Party’s point person on ethics and lobbying reform, and working with Republicans, we passed the most sweeping reform since Watergate. We banned free gifts, free meals, subsidized travel on corporate jets, and we made sure that lobbyists had to tell the American people where they’re raising money from and who in Congress they’re funneling it to.
How has your professional background benefited your career as a politician?
Clinton: My decision to go to law school was an expression of my belief that the system
could be changed from within. My legal background has allowed me to advocate on behalf of children and families – the work that has been the passion and calling of my life through my years of public service, and now my years in public office.
McCain: Provided me with knowledge and background.
Obama: It’s taught me to think substantively about both sides of every issue and helped me organize my arguments in clear and consistent ways.
What do you bring to the table that the other two candidates do not?
Clinton: I believe the Democrats are very lucky to have two strong candidates running in this primary. I also believe the choice facing voters comes down to who offers real solutions for the real problems we face in America. My policies -from building an economy that works for everyone, to ending the war in Iraq, to declaring energy independence and creating millions of green collar jobs – will make all of our hopes and dreams into a reality for people across America.
McCain: I have respect for both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, but my conservative record and service to our country makes me most qualified to lead as Commander-in-Chief.
Obama: Over my two decades in public service, I’ve shown that I can bring people together who don’t always agree, and that I’m not afraid to tell people what they need to hear instead of just what they want to hear. And I think that in order to solve the challenges we’re facing today, we need a leader who can bridge our differences and be honest with us about the choices we face.
What is the food like on the campaign, and do you stay fit?
McCain: I try to eat as healthy as possible, but that isn’t to say I [do not] enjoy hamburgers, hotdogs, and pizza on the trail.
Obama: The food on the campaign keeps me absolutely committed to staying active with a run or a basketball game as often as I can.
How do you plan to attract young voters?
Clinton: Young voters all over the country are actively engaged in my campaign. They are the backbone of our field operation, they have started groups at their colleges and high schools, and they are working hard to spread the word about my campaign. They are the best advocates I have in reaching out to other young people. But I’ve also focused a lot on policies that will help young people – from my plan to make college more affordable and accessible to all young people to my plan to create a strategic energy fund to address global warming while creating new jobs. Over the last seven years, young people have continued to fight hard on all the issues they care about – global warming, the genocide in Darfur, and healthcare, but their efforts have fallen on deaf ears in this administration. As I travel across the country, I make sure to remind young people that their efforts will not be lost on me, should I become President. Young people will have a voice in my administration.
McCain: I frequent the Daily Show, Letterman, Leno, MTV town Halls to communicate.
What will be your top three priorities as president?
Clinton: Number one would be to withdraw from Iraq. Number
two would be presenting my legislative plan, clean, affordable energy, better healthcare, and repairing relations around the world, with other countries.
McCain: National Security, Economic Security/prosperity, Global Warming
Obama: My top priority as President will be to end this war in Iraq and begin bringing our troops home. I also want to pass a universal health care plan by the end of my first term as President, and I want to bring both parties together to finally create an energy policy that invests in renewable energy and ends our dependence on foreign oil.
What music do you listen to while campaigning?
McCain: We keep a vigorous schedule but [I] do enjoy listening to Abba.
Obama: If I get any downtime on the plane, I usually listen to my iPod that has all kinds of music on it. I’m a big Stevie Wonder fan.